DON'T TAKE THE KITCHEN SINK!
Lessons Learned from an Overlanding Trip Pulling a Trailer
By Del Albright
I built this old apple orchard 1/4 ton trailer, M100, into an overlanding trailer -- and made some mistakes. But first, the good things I did:
1. Put BFGoodrich All Terrains on it to match the Jeep towing height and the fact that I did a spring over on the trailer.
2. Completely went through the bearings.
3. Converted the hitch to a triple-swivel, custom torsion spring towing mechanism that allows the trailer to follow perfectly.
Now, what lessons did I learn pulling my trailer, overlanding?
1. Do not take the kitchen sink. Packing like you have to live out of it for a year makes this trailer HEAVY. My 4.0L Jeep is not designed to pull 1000 pounds up a steep mountain. The trailer starts out at 565 pounds empty. Pack light; but take the necessary.
2. Add trailer brakes if you build one. I did not. I paid the price. Stopping on steep hills with a manual tranny put more pull (backward) on the Jeep than the brakes would hold. Even with bad-azz disc brakes all around. This limited my exploration with the trailer.
3. Sleep comfy but light! Don't take heavy cots and big tents. Find gear that is lightweight yet comfy for your back/sleeping needs. Spend the extra money on lightweight gear. Something like a really good air mattress is sure handier than a cot.
4. Never try to set up a tent by yourself in the wind unless you are pretty handy with stakes and ropes ready to anchor off the beast. Anchor your tent!
5. Protect your food box or tub so they don't get dust in them and on your eating utensils. I put coffee cups and silverware in ziplock bags for dust proofing.
6. Secure all gear. Don't be lazy or in a hurry to pack your Jeep in the morning. Put things where they belong and tie/strap them down or they bounce around and bump your head while you're driving some rocky road.